hiding neath the red oak tree

Kelli Sheckler-Amsden
2 min readFeb 13, 2024

silently lying, very still

they have never, ever found me

and I know, they never will

*

olly olly oxen free

they scream, hands cupped, with all their might

their call out is a guarantee

that I’m the last one found tonight

*

but until their eyes are on me

until they’ve bent to touch my skin

I whistle out a repartee

that I am never giving in

*

what fun comes with surrender

what’s the point of getting lost

when faced with a true contender

I protest, with both arms crossed

*

camouflaged in shifting shadows

my hands snugly over my eyes

until my will has decomposed

I can’t, I won’t — materialize

*

the art of game, of being lost

blending in and being quiet

searching until complete exhaust

to some is unrequited

*

to me, it is exhilarating

sends goosebumps up and down my spine

give up or hide, there’s no debating

I’ll be hiding all the time

*

to quit and trust a wordy promise

when win or lose is what’s at stake

I feel a bit like doubting Thomas

trusting makes my stomach ache

*

their voices faint, it’s getting darker

I almost go, but hesitate

this tree, my rock, my one safe harbor

I nestle in and show restraint

*

the wind begins to howl around me

wildly it whispers in my ear

my loving faithful red oak tree

begins to warn, trouble is near

*

the birds take flight, their wings a flutter

I close my eyes with all my might

the sky, with rain, begins to sputter

it is a dark and stormy night

*

a whisper “who” is drawing nearer

the voice, not one, I recognize

the yellow eyes are getting clearer

my hiding place is compromised

*

goosebumps begin to dot my body

these bumps crawl underneath my skin

the damp, cold ground is smelling soddy

I fear this night will do me in

*

why did I ignore the call, surrender?

who will save me from this fate

will I be forgotten, lost forever

will morning’s sun arrive too late

*

given the chance, I’d take the offer

at home, a winner , tucked in my bed

but lost I’ll be, hide and seeks martyr

under this red oak, I rest my head

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